Tag Archives: WIP

Ups and downs

You won’t believe the silly thing that lead me to break my nearly two month long writing streak.

I did laundry.

In preparation to go home and see my family for the summer, I needed to get all my laundry done, so I hauled my clotheshorse out of the bathroom and put it up in it’s usual spot. Unfortunately, its usual spot is in front of the desk where I normally write. So instead of putting my computer on the desk before I went to bed bed that night, I put it on my comfy chair instead, thinking it was no big deal if I sat there to write.

Turns out, it was a big deal. The next day, some time in the evening, I suddenly thought to myself, “Hey, did I write today?” And I honestly could not remember if I had or not. I opened the document and wrote a few sentences, just to ensure that I had, in fact, written. But I didn’t learn, and the next day I found myself wondering whether I’d written anything once more.

To be fair, it wasn’t just laundry that got in the way. The summer rush that happens every year is starting to kick in at work. I wanted to get in a few more girl nights before I left the city for more than two months. I needed to make sure my place won’t be a nightmare to return to in the fall. Once I arrived at my parents’ house, I was immediately roped into babysitter duty for my two-year-old nephew. Making dinner for everyone is my responsibility on days when my mom is working late, and unlike in the city when I can just make it whenever I’m hungry, it needs to be on the table by five. Then it was Dr. Who Night with my cousins. My sister’s birthday was a few days ago, so I had find time to go into town and buy a present for her, and make a cake on her actual birthday and then have dinner and then coffee with the family. I’m also attempting to be less of a sloth this summer, but my trips to the gym are, as always, dependent on just how bad the summer work rush gets.

And, and, and, and…

And I haven’t written a word for Garden of Princes in maybe two weeks. I have written other things, but mostly doodles that I don’t intend to do anything with at the moment. It’s just so frustrating how I keep on sabotaging myself like this.

Of course, I don’t think all the blame lies with the various responsibilities that have been piling up lately. I’ve arrived at a place in Garden where I just don’t know where I’m going, and the inevitable result was that my daily efforts yielded fewer and fewer words and more and more trivial scenes being put on paper.

Writing just to see where I’m going doesn’t work for me, because it feels like I’m going nowhere. I keep telling myself that I need to sit down and come up with a plan instead of complaining about not having a plan, but my head appears to be too far up my own ass to actually hear it. So. That’s where I am right now.

How about you guys? Hope you’re having a more productive writing summer than I am!

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One month in

Exactly one month ago today – May 3rd – I started writing The Garden of Princes. Throwing caution to the wind, I went in blind, without much of a plan beyond how it all got started and how it would end. Everything in between those two points was a huge blank. And now, I’ve written every day for thirty two days straight. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before in my life. And even better, I’m nowhere near a burnout.

In some ways though, I feel that my lack of a plan is coming back to bite me in the butt. One of the reasons why I was so reluctant to get started on a big project in the first place, was that I get so demotivated when I feel like I don’t know where I’m going. While that’s still true, I’m glad I’ve gotten started; when I’m actually writing, I’m forced to think about the project for an extended period of time each day. I’ve realized a lot of things about the story and jotted down ideas for later use, so I’ve got a much better idea of where I’m going than I did a month ago. I’ve filled twenty pages of a notebook, and I keep adding to it every day.

I have, however, come to realize that the main plot lines may not work as well together as I would want them to. The timelines feel off, so I may end up chopping out one of them and save it for later. I guess it’s good that I’m seeing this now and not when I’ve written ten thousands of words for the plot, but it’s still fairly frustrating to contemplate losing a good chunk of what I’ve written so far. Of course, it’s this plot line that gave the project its name, so now I really have to think of a new title.

I’ve got plenty of time though, as this is turning out to be slow work. I’m trying to come to terms with how long it’s going to take me to finish this first draft, but I’m finding it hard. As some of you might have seen at the bottom of the blog, I’ve set myself a deadline on December 1st, but I’m not sure that’s entirely realistic. On one hand, the six months between now and December 1st sound like an eternity. On the other hand, I’m trying not to burn myself out on the project, like I’ve done so many times in the past. If I keep going at the pace I’ve been going at for the past month, I think I’ll end up missing the deadline. Not by a whole lot, but I’m toying with the possibility of giving myself more time instead of hoping that I’ll pick up the pace later on. It is, after all, better to finish sometime next year than it is to give up on the project altogether because I’m always wishing that my process was different than it is. I may be a fast typist, but that doesn’t translate into being a fast writer.

So, how are you guys’ WIPs coming along?

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Although I haven’t really written anything substantial in a long while, I’ve never lacked for ideas. I’ve squirreled them away in a folder on my computer, in various notebooks lying around my room, on scraps of paper, whatever was closest when inspiration struck. Still other ideas have been forgotten, because nothing was handy to write with then and there, or because I thought, with great hubris, that I would remember.

Of course, if you keep having ideas without actually writing them, it builds up and suddenly you’re not only struggling to write, but struggling to choose what you most want to write about when you finally get over yourself. For months, I’ve been saying, “Just do it. Just start writing it and worry about everything else later.” I’ve genuinely wanted to follow my own orders, but with more than a hundred ideas to choose from, it was overwhelming. I just didn’t know which idea to go with.

There were a few front runners, but not one obvious winner. None of them were fully developed – far from it – but all had little bits and pieces that were waiting for me to fit them into a larger framework. In the end, I chose the one that had both a beginning and an end. It’s a fantasy, and quite possibly too large in scope to be my first big project after a long hiatus from writing. It’ll likely take years to pull together the storyline I have in mind. I’m actually toying with the idea of starting one of the other stories as well, just to be able to alternate a bit, but we’ll see how it goes first. I don’t want to spread myself to thin.

The working title is The Garden of Princes, but that’s likely to change as soon as I can find something better to call it. I don’t know how I feel about getting into the details yet, partly because I don’t have many details yet, and partly because I’ve always preferred to be a bit tight-lipped about what I’m working on. But in my head, it’s sort of a blend between Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. (argh!) Martin. I haven’t gotten all that far yet, but chapter one is done, chapter two is starting to take shape, and I’ve had a good time (mostly) when sitting down to write in the mornings. So that bodes well, I guess, but ask me again next week!

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